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Blu-ray Review: Criterion Upgrades Ang Lee’s Masterful ‘The Ice Storm’

The Ice Storm

CHICAGO – Ang Lee won his second Oscar this year for his work on “Life of Pi” but he wasn’t even nominated for one of the best films of his career, the masterful “The Ice Storm,” recently upgraded to Blu-ray by Criterion and re-released on DVD. Few films from 1997 have held up more completely as Lee’s adaptation of the Rick Moody novel feels even more symbolically dense and accomplished. It’s a stellar drama, one of the best of the ’90s, and Criterion has loaded it down with special features.

Blu-ray Review: Adam Sandler’s ‘Jack and Jill’ Sucks Twice as Much

Jack and Jill

CHICAGO – Adam Sandler has become such a lazy filmmaker that he’s now just building films around his personal vacation schedule. He wanted to take an outdoors-y vacation with his friends and the result was “Grown Ups.” He wanted to go to Hawaii and the result was “Just Go With It.” He wanted to take a cruise and we have to sit through “Jack and Jill.”

Blu-ray Review: ‘Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark’ Fails to Deliver Quality Scares

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark Thumb

CHICAGO – Just as Peter Jackson’s adaptation of “The Lovely Bones” suffered from visual over-saturation, writer/producer Guillermo del Toro’s remake of John Newland’s 1973 TV movie succumbs to ineffectual excess. As soon as its fearsome creatures appear for longer than a flash frame, they instantly lose their scare-factor. Didn’t del Toro and his crew learn anything from “Signs”?

Film Review: Adam Sandler Sticks to Formula in ‘Jack and Jill’

CHICAGO – No one will ever accuse Adam Sandler of not knowing his audience and the reason they keep coming back to his “Happy Madison” genre of films – he delivers the oddball characters, lots of bodily fluids/sounds, physical beatings and the know-it-all straight man. Add the gooey sentiment and out spews the latest, “Jack and Jill.”

Film Review: Channing Tatum Stars in Inconsistent ‘The Son of No One’

The Son of No One
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Director Dito Montiel and star Channing Tatum were once tagged with the label of the hot new debut artistic partnership. 2006’s great “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints” introduced both men to the world and it felt like it could be the calling card for a creative team to someday rival Scorsese & De Niro. Tatum reunited with Montiel on the disappointing “Fighting” and their latest venture, “The Son of No One,” while an improvement on Montiel’s sophomore slump, is nonetheless another misfire.

Film Review: Ineffective ‘Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark’ From Producer Guillermo Del Toro

CHICAGO – Echoing elements of masterful works by Producer Guillermo Del Toro (most notably “The Devil’s Backbone,” “Pan’s Labyrinth”), “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” is an incredibly frustrating remake, a film that reminds one of scary movies instead of actually producing scares itself.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of Chicago Passes to ‘Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark’ With Katie Holmes

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark with Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce

CHICAGO – In our latest horror/thriller edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 40 admit-two passes up for grabs to the advance Chicago screening of Guillermo del Toro’s highly anticipated “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” starring Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce!

TV Review: Collision of False History, Melodrama in Awful ‘The Kennedys’

CHICAGO – The History Channel made headlines when it announced it was developing a mini-series called “The Kennedys” about the legendary family and even more of them when it dropped the finished product amidst rumors that some actual Kennedys had pressured them to do so. After other networks reportedly passed on the 8-part historical dramatization, it fell to the Reelz Channel.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Signed Poster By ‘The Extra Man’ Stars Kevin Kline, Paul Dano; Three Magnolia DVDs

The Extra Man poster with Kevin Kline, Paul Dano

CHICAGO – In this edition of the HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: DVD, one lucky winner will clean up with three DVDs from Magnolia Pictures for the movies “The Great Buck Howard,” “What Just Happened” and “Finding Amanda” plus a full-size poster for “The Extra Man” signed by filmmaker Shari Springer Berman and stars Kevin Kline and Paul Dano!

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  • Ride Along with Ice Cube

    CHICAGO – Few figures have had less of an exciting domination of the world than Kevin Hart. In the past few years, the comedian has skyrocketed to leading fixture in the comedy scene, creating hit scripts out of films like “Think Like A Man” and “About Last Night,” while taking victory laps in his lacking stand-up features like “Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain”. The big problem is that these projects don’t justify his comic potential.

  • The King of Comedy

    Something always felt a bit out of place for me in Martin Scorsese’s brilliant “The King of Comedy”, just released on Blu-ray for the first time. I couldn’t put my finger on it but chalked it up to it being thematically ahead of its time in its investigation of the cult of personality that defines modern entertainment.

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